A Reason to Visit Canary Wharf: Winter Lights Festival 2017
Ok, so Canary Wharf has a bad rep for being soulless. I personally quite like the place (possibly because there’s a lot of opportunities for looking up) but I’ve got a fresh reason for you to hop on the Jubilee line and it comes in the shape of a Winter Lights Festival.
Now in its third year, Canary Wharf – a hotspot for contemporary art commissions – is currently hosting the Winter Lights Festival until Friday 27 January.
Bringing together some of the most innovative artists working with light worldwide, I’ve highlighted my favourite discoveries, all easily viewed within a short stroll from each other.
Some are interactive, like the angels which you’re supposed to stand in front of. Others gather information from their surroundings and that defines their tempo or colour.
Angels of Freedom by Ove Collective Merav Eitan + Gaston Zahr
The most eye-catching piece this year is a huge egg-shaped structure that looks a bit like a wooden version of The Gherkin. It’s also suspended over water so the reflections mean its even more photogenic.
Ovo by Mustafa Hadi + Pol Marchandise (Odeaubois)
and you can go inside, here’s a view looking up…
It looks a bit blurry because every couple of minutes they pump mist into the middle, which is atmospheric even if it makes you a tad damp.
This jewel-like colourful installation was put together with the help of pupils from the local George Green’s School. It’s meant to shed light on the places where basic needs, like having electricity or running water, aren’t met.
Liter of Light by Mick Stephenson
This piece uses a fine sheet of mist as a canvas on which it can then project shape and colour.
Water Wall by Andrew Bernstein + Gregory St. Pierre
Some you need to be in front of (or at least capture in video form) to do them justice. These twelve columns respond to visitors’ movements via sensors, meaning the more people around the faster the lights pulse.
Cathedral of Mirrors by Mads Christensen + Quays Culture
One of my favourites (this picture doesn’t quite show off its scale) can be found in Westferry Circus. The lights change colour over time, sometimes frantically flashing, sometimes gently fading into new colours. Every one of the ‘nodes’ can communicate and are ‘location-aware’ so apparently they change as a response to their surrounding ambience.
Here’s a close-up…
Bloom by Squidsoup
Winter Lights is on from now until 27 January and is completely free. You can find the locations of installations and more info here.